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Updated: April 19, 2010 00:50 IST

Indigenous cryogenic engine didn't fail to ignite: scientists

S. Anandan
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The GSLV D3 lifting off from Sriharikota on Thursday. Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu
The GSLV D3 lifting off from Sriharikota on Thursday. Photo: M. Vedhan

Senior Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, who met at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram to examine the reasons for the failure of the GSLV-D3 mission with indigenous cryogenic upper stage, on Sunday ascertained that contrary to initial reports the cryogenic stage had doubtless ignited in the vacuum of the space.

After deliberating on the performance parameters of the cryogenic stage (the third stage) of the unsuccessful GSLV development flight last Thursday, they concluded that the mission failed after the fuel turbo pump that supplied fuel to the cryogenic engine had stopped working a second after ignition. ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan chaired the two-day meeting.

“The data clearly shows that combustion [of the cryogenic engine fuel, liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degree Celsius, and the oxidiser, liquid oxygen at minus 183 degree Celsius] had indeed taken place. The rocket's acceleration had increased for a second before it drifted off the designated flight path. Indications are that the turbine that powered the fuel turbo pump had somehow failed. [The propellants are pumped using turbo pumps running around 4,000 rpm.] There could be various reasons for its failure,” a senior ISRO scientist told The Hindu.

The ISRO will now constitute a ‘Failure Analysis Committee' to close in on the exact reason for the failure. It will come out with its report by May end, following which the national experts' panel, constituted to review and give clearance to the GSLV-D3 mission, will examine the report. Dr. Radhakrishnan will brief Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday on what had gone wrong with GSLV-D3.

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